Sunrise over the bog with a wooden boardwalk and tower.Source: Sven Zacek

Everything you need to know about hiking in Estonia

Immerse yourself in wild, untouched nature by exploring Estonia on foot. Hiking in Estonia's bogs, forests, and coastal areas is possible year-round!

Breathe in the fresh air and stretch your legs on Estonia's hiking trails!

Options for biking, skiing, and caravan camping abound, but nature is still best explored on your own feet.

With some of the cleanest air in the world and one of the lowest population densities in Europe, Estonia's wild nature promises adventure, relaxation, and a deep connection to the environment. 

Choose a route depending on your interests and fitness level. From easy boardwalks to long routes requiring a lot of strength and stamina, there is something for everyone — unless you're a mountain climber.

You can hike in national parks, nature reserves, bogs, dense forests, rugged coastal landscapes, or even stroll through city parks. You can hike with a guide in a group or strike out on your own. Hiking trails meander through diverse cultural landscapes and pass by historical monuments and ancient geographical sites.

Finding joy in all four seasons

Summer is the peak hiking season in Estonia. The long summer days mean you can stretch your hikes out for as long as your legs can handle. Always pack a swimsuit, as many of Estonia's hiking trails have spots for taking a dip to cool off — try the peaty waters of bog lakes, the sandy shores of the Baltic Sea, or jumping from a pier into a lake.  

Autumn brings cooler temperatures — and fewer mosquitos! The trees change colors, and the forest is filled with the scent of falling leaves. Even the bogs turn golden. You can forage for mushrooms and berries if you know where to look. And if you don't know, you can always go with a guide. Like spring, autumn is also the season for bird migrations. Matsalu National Park and Vilsandi National Park are two top spots for it!

Morning mist on Tolkuse bog and hiking trail in Estonia

Source: Priidu Saart, Visit Pärnu

Winter hiking is the most challenging but can also be the most rewarding. More gear is required to stay warm in the winter, and there are fewer hours of daylight. Luckily many hiking trails have spots where you can light a campfire and warm you up. Very lucky winter hikers might hear wolves howling or spot prints in the snow, as elusive animals are easier to track when there's less foliage to hide in. If you can brave the cold, the winter landscape's absolute silence and crystalline stillness will fill you with wonder. 

In springtime, nature awakens after the long winter. Greens are the brightest, sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, and silence is like a balm for the soul. In early spring, you can experience Estonia's infamous fifth season in Soomaa National Park. This phenomenon occurs when water levels rise dramatically as the snow melts or during intense rains. May is the best month to see flowers blooming, with snowdrops marking the end of winter, crocuses blanketing the forest floor, tulips blooming in gardens around the country, and lilacs filling the air with a lovely perfume.

Two hikers warm up with a fire after a winter hike

Source: Georgius Misjura

The most popular hiking trails in Estonia

These ten hiking trails range from easy to advanced, and some are even accessible for wheelchair users and strollers.

The longest hiking trails in Estonia

Estonia may be a compact country, but that doesn't mean you have to be satisfied with short hiking routes. These three trails are well-marked, with services and accommodation options along the way. With some planning, hopping on the trail for a day and taking public transport back to your base is possible. Ambitious long-distance hikers can even continue on to the rest of Europe.

The Baltic Forest Trail

This trail is part of the E11 long-distance European hiking route, passing through Latvia's most forested areas and Eastern Estonia, including three national parks. The route is divided into 50 stages, each about 20 kilometers long. The sections have different difficulty levels, so there is something for every fitness level.

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Trail

This hiking trail runs along the coast of the Baltic Sea and is part of the European long-distance hiking trail E9. The total length of the route is 1200 km, of which 620 kilometers are in Estonia. The Estonian leg of the trail takes about 30 days to complete and starts in either Ikla or Tallinn, depending on the direction of your hike, and the trail is divided into sections, which allows you to choose the distance that suits you best. 

The Peraküla-Aegviidu-Ähijärvi Hiking Trail

The longest hiking trail in Estonia starts at the Nõva Nature Center in Peraküla. It passes through nine counties and a series of protected areas over 820 kilometers. The trail is marked with white and green markings and directional signs.

The best hiking trails for children

Thousands of kilometers of hiking trails crisscross Estonia. There is no shortage of trails to explore with your little ones, but we've put together a few of our favorites, plus additional attractions nearby.

Children go hiking on a board walk in the bog with a dog.

Source: Siim Verner Teder, Visit Pärnu

How to prepare for your hike

First off, wear proper clothing. Your clothing should keep you dry, warm, and well-protected from sun and rain. For example, warm, waterproof shoes with good grip are important for hiking in winter as you may come across ice, slush, or deep snow. 

Summertime hikes call for mosquito and tick repellant, sunscreen, and a hat. In all seasons, carry along water, snacks, a map, a compass, and rain gear. 4G and 5G Internet access is generally strong throughout Estonia, but it's always good to have maps downloaded on your phone in case you cross an area where the signal is weak.

While there are healthy populations of bears and wolves, they will be more scared of you than you are of them. If you do happen to catch sight of one when in the forest, consider yourself very lucky!

The Estonian Ministry of Forestry (RMK) is another good resource for planning a hike in Estonia. On its website, you can find information about hiking trails and lots of practical advice. They manage most of the country's public campsites and ensure that all the necessary equipment, such as shelters, toilets, and fire pits, is in working condition.

Discover Estonia's national parks

National parks and protected areas take up almost one-fifth of Estonia’s territory.

Explore Estonia

Plan your next hiking trip with our interactive map.